• Abelson kinase inhibitors are potent inhibitors of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus fusion

      Coleman, C.M.; Sisk, J.M.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2016)
      The highly pathogenic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cause significant morbidity and morality. There is currently no approved therapeutic for highly pathogenic coronaviruses, even as MERS-CoV is spreading throughout the Middle East. We previously screened a library of FDA-approved drugs for inhibitors of coronavirus replication in which we identified Abelson (Abl) kinase inhibitors, including the anticancer drug imatinib, as inhibitors of both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV in vitro. Here we show that the anti-CoV activity of imatinib occurs at the early stages of infection, after internalization and endosomal trafficking, by inhibiting fusion of the virions at the endosomal membrane. We specifically identified the imatinib target, Abelson tyrosine-protein kinase 2 (Abl2), as required for efficient SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV replication in vitro. These data demonstrate that specific approved drugs can be characterized in vitro for their anticoronavirus activity and used to identify host proteins required for coronavirus replication. This type of study is an important step in the repurposing of approved drugs for treatment of emerging coronaviruses.
    • Construction and next-generation sequencing analysis of a large phage-displayed VNARsingle-domain antibody library from six naïve nurse sharks

      Feng, M.; Bian, H.; Flajnik, M.F. (Oxford University Press, 2018)
      Background: Shark new antigen receptor variable domain (VNAR) antibodies can bind restricted epitopes that may be inaccessible to conventional antibodies. Methods: Here, we developed a library construction method based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR)Extension Assembly and Self-Ligation (named “EASeL”) to construct a large VNARantibody library with a size of 1.2 × 1010from six naïve adult nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum). Results: The next-generation sequencing analysis of 1.19 million full-length VNARs revealed that this library is highly diversified because it covers all four classical VNARtypes (Types I–IV) including 11% of classical Type I and 57% of classical Type II. About 30% of the total VNARs could not be categorized as any of the classical types. The high variability of complementarity determining region (CDR) 3 length and cysteine numbers are important for the diversity of VNARs. To validate the use of the shark VNARlibrary for antibody discovery, we isolated a panel of VNARphage binders to cancer therapy-related antigens, including glypican-3, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), and programmed cell death-1 (PD1). Additionally, we identified binders to viral antigens that included the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spike proteins. The isolated shark single-domain antibodies including Type I and Type II VNARs were produced in Escherichia coli and validated for their antigen binding. A Type II VNAR(PE38-B6) has a high affinity (Kd= 10.1 nM) for its antigen. Conclusions: The naïve nurse shark VNARlibrary is a useful source for isolating single-domain antibodies to a wide range of antigens. The EASeL method may be applicable to the construction of other large diversity gene expression libraries. Copyright The Author(s) 2018.
    • Coronaviruses: Important emerging human pathogens

      Coleman, C.M.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2014)
      The identification of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012 reaffirmed the importance of understanding how coronaviruses emerge, infect, and cause disease. By comparing what is known about severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) to what has recently been found for MERS-CoV, researchers are discovering similarities and differences that may be important for pathogenesis. Here we discuss what is known about each virus and what gaps remain in our understanding, especially concerning MERS-CoV.
    • Evaluation of SSYA10-001 as a replication inhibitor of severe acute respiratory syndrome, mouse hepatitis, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses

      Adedeji, A.O.; Singh, K.; Coleman, C.M. (American Society for Microbiology, 2014)
      We have previously shown that SSYA10-001 blocks severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) replication by inhibiting SARS-CoV helicase (nsp13). Here, we show that SSYA10-001 also inhibits replication of two other coronaviruses, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). A putative binding pocket for SSYA10-001 was identified and shown to be similar in SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and MHV helicases. These studies show that it is possible to target multiple coronaviruses through broad-spectrum inhibitors.
    • Genome Wide Identification of SARS-CoV Susceptibility Loci Using the Collaborative Cross

      Gralinski, L.E.; Ferris, M.T.; Frieman, M.B. (Public Library of Science, 2015)
      New systems genetics approaches are needed to rapidly identify host genes and genetic networks that regulate complex disease outcomes. Using genetically diverse animals from incipient lines of the Collaborative Cross mouse panel, we demonstrate a greatly expanded range of phenotypes relative to classical mouse models of SARS-CoV infection including lung pathology, weight loss and viral titer. Genetic mapping revealed several loci contributing to differential disease responses, including an 8.5Mb locus associated with vascular cuffing on chromosome 3 that contained 23 genes and 13 noncoding RNAs. Integrating phenotypic and genetic data narrowed this region to a single gene, Trim55, an E3 ubiquitin ligase with a role in muscle fiber maintenance. Lung pathology and transcriptomic data from mice genetically deficient in Trim55 were used to validate its role in SARS-CoV-induced vascular cuffing and inflammation. These data establish the Collaborative Cross platform as a powerful genetic resource for uncovering genetic contributions of complex traits in microbial disease severity, inflammation and virus replication in models of outbred populations.
    • Induction of alternatively activated macrophages enhances pathogenesis during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection

      Page, C.; Goicochea, L.; Matthews, K.; Frieman, M. (2012)
      Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) causes acute lung injury (ALI) that often leads to severe lung disease. A mouse model of acute SARS-CoV infection has been helpful in understanding the host response to infection; however, there are still unanswered questions concerning SARS-CoV pathogenesis. We have shown that STAT1 plays an important role in the severity of SARS-CoV pathogenesis and that it is independent of the role of STAT1 in interferon signaling. Mice lacking STAT1 have greater weight loss, severe lung pathology with pre-pulmonary-fibrosis-like lesions, and an altered immune response following infection with SARS-CoV. We hypothesized that STAT1 plays a role in the polarization of the immune response, specifically in macrophages, resulting in a worsened outcome. To test this, we created bone marrow chimeras and celltype- specific knockouts of STAT1 to identify which cell type(s) is critical to protection from severe lung disease after SARS-CoV infection. Bone marrow chimera experiments demonstrated that hematopoietic cells are responsible for the pathogenesis in STAT1-/- mice, and because of an induction of alternatively activated (AA) macrophages after infection, we hypothesized that the AA macrophages were critical for disease severity. Mice with STAT1 in either monocytes and macrophages (LysM/STAT1) or ciliated lung epithelial cells (FoxJ1/STAT1) deleted were created. Following infection, LysM/STAT1 mice display severe lung pathology, while FoxJ1/STAT1 mice display normal lung pathology. We hypothesized that AA macrophages were responsible for this STAT1-dependent pathology and therefore created STAT1/STAT6-/- double-knockout mice. STAT6 is essential for the development of AA macrophages. Infection of the double-knockout mice displayed a lack of lung disease and prefibrotic lesions, suggesting that AA macrophage production may be the cause of STAT1-dependent lung disease. We propose that the control of AA macrophages by STAT1 is critical to regulating immune pathologies and for protection from long-term progression to fibrotic lung disease in a mouse model of SARS-CoV infection.
    • Integrative deep sequencing of the mouse lung transcriptome reveals differential expression of diverse classes of small RNAs in response to respiratory virus infection

      Peng, X.; Gralinski, L.; Frieman, M.B. (2011)
      We previously reported widespread differential expression of long non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in response to virus infection. Here, we expanded the study through small RNA transcriptome sequencing analysis of the host response to both severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and influenza virus infections across four founder mouse strains of the Collaborative Cross, a recombinant inbred mouse resource for mapping complex traits. We observed differential expression of over 200 small RNAs of diverse classes during infection. A majority of identified microRNAs (miRNAs) showed divergent changes in expression across mouse strains with respect to SARS-CoV and influenza virus infections and responded differently to a highly pathogenic reconstructed 1918 virus compared to a minimally pathogenic seasonal influenza virus isolate. Novel insights into miRNA expression changes, including the association with pathogenic outcomes and large differences between in vivo and in vitro experimental systems, were further elucidated by a survey of selected miRNAs across diverse virus infections. The small RNAs identified also included many non-miRNA small RNAs, such as small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), in addition to nonannotated small RNAs. An integrative sequencing analysis of both small RNAs and long transcripts from the same samples showed that the results revealing differential expression of miRNAs during infection were largely due to transcriptional regulation and that the predicted miRNA-mRNA network could modulate global host responses to virus infection in a combinatorial fashion. These findings represent the first integrated sequencing analysis of the response of host small RNAs to virus infection and show that small RNAs are an integrated component of complex networks involved in regulating the host response to infection. Copyright 2011 Peng et al.
    • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: Current Therapeutic Options and Potential Targets for Novel Therapies

      Dyall, J.; Gross, R.; Frieman, M.B. (Springer International Publishing, 2017)
      No specific antivirals are currently available for two emerging infectious diseases, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). A literature search was performed covering pathogenesis, clinical features and therapeutics, clinically developed drugs for repurposing and novel drug targets. This review presents current knowledge on the epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical features of the SARS and MERS coronaviruses. The rationale for and outcomes with treatments used for SARS and MERS is discussed. The main focus of the review is on drug development and the potential that drugs approved for other indications provide for repurposing. The drugs we discuss belong to a wide range of different drug classes, such as cancer therapeutics, antipsychotics, and antimalarials. In addition to their activity against MERS and SARS coronaviruses, many of these approved drugs have broad-spectrum potential and have already been in clinical use for treating other viral infections. A wealth of knowledge is available for these drugs. However, the information in this review is not meant to guide clinical decisions, and any therapeutic described here should only be used in context of a clinical trial. Potential targets for novel antivirals and antibodies are discussed as well as lessons learned from treatment development for other RNA viruses. The article concludes with a discussion of the gaps in our knowledge and areas for future research on emerging coronaviruses.
    • Molecular determinants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus pathogenesis and virulence in young and aged mouse models of human disease

      Frieman, M.; Yount, B.; Page, C. (2012)
      SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) causes severe acute respiratory tract disease characterized by diffuse alveolar damage and hyaline membrane formation. This pathology often progresses to acute respiratory distress (such as acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS]) and atypical pneumonia in humans, with characteristic age-related mortality rates approaching 50% or more in immunosenescent populations. The molecular basis for the extreme virulence of SARS-CoV remains elusive. Since young and aged (1-year-old) mice do not develop severe clinical disease following infection with wild-type SARS-CoV, a mouse-adapted strain of SARS-CoV (called MA15) was developed and was shown to cause lethal infection in these animals. To understand the genetic contributions to the increased pathogenesis of MA15 in rodents, we used reverse genetics and evaluated the virulence of panels of derivative viruses encoding various combinations of mouse-adapted mutations. We found that mutations in the viral spike (S) glycoprotein and, to a much less rigorous extent, in the nsp9 nonstructural protein, were primarily associated with the acquisition of virulence in young animals. The mutations in S likely increase recognition of the mouse angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor not only in MA15 but also in two additional, independently isolated mouse-adapted SARS-CoVs. In contrast to the findings for young animals, mutations to revert to the wild-type sequence in nsp9 and the S glycoprotein were not sufficient to significantly attenuate the virus compared to other combinations of mouse-adapted mutations in 12-month-old mice. This panel of SARS-CoVs provides novel reagents that we have used to further our understanding of differential, age-related pathogenic mechanisms in mouse models of human disease.
    • The ORF4b-encoded accessory proteins of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and two related bat coronaviruses localize to the nucleus and inhibit innate immune signalling

      Matthews, K.L.; Coleman, C.M.; Frieman, M.B. (Society for General Microbiology, 2014)
      The recently emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a betacoronavirus, is associated with severe pneumonia and renal failure. The environmental origin of MERS-CoV is as yet unknown; however, its genome sequence is closely related to those of two bat coronaviruses, named BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5, which were derived from Chinese bat samples. A hallmark of highly pathogenic respiratory viruses is their ability to evade the innate immune response of the host. CoV accessory proteins, for example those from severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV), have been shown to block innate antiviral signalling pathways. MERS-CoV, similar to SARS-CoV, has been shown to inhibit type I IFN induction in a variety of cell types in vitro. We therefore hypothesized that MERS-CoV and the phylogenetically related BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5 may encode proteins with similar capabilities. In this study, we have demonstrated that the ORF4b-encoded accessory protein (p4b) of MERS-CoV, BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5 may indeed facilitate innate immune evasion by inhibiting the type I IFN and NF-κB signalling pathways. We also analysed the subcellular localization of p4b from MERS-CoV, BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5 and demonstrated that all are localized to the nucleus.
    • Purified coronavirus spike protein nanoparticles induce coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in mice

      Coleman, C.M.; Taylor, J.K.; Frieman, M.B. (Elsevier Ltd, 2014)
      Development of vaccination strategies for emerging pathogens are particularly challenging because of the sudden nature of their emergence and the long process needed for traditional vaccine development. Therefore, there is a need for development of a rapid method of vaccine development that can respond to emerging pathogens in a short time frame.The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in late 2012 demonstrate the importance of coronaviruses as emerging pathogens. The spike glycoproteins of coronaviruses reside on the surface of the virion and are responsible for virus entry. The spike glycoprotein is the major immunodominant antigen of coronaviruses and has proven to be an excellent target for vaccine designs that seek to block coronavirus entry and promote antibody targeting of infected cells.Vaccination strategies for coronaviruses have involved live attenuated virus, recombinant viruses, non-replicative virus-like particles expressing coronavirus proteins or DNA plasmids expressing coronavirus genes. None of these strategies has progressed to an approved human coronavirus vaccine in the ten years since SARS-CoV emerged. Here we describe a novel method for generating MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV full-length spike nanoparticles, which in combination with adjuvants are able to produce high titer antibodies in mice.
    • Repurposing of clinically developed drugs for treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection

      Coleman, C.M.; Venkataraman, T.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2014)
      Outbreaks of emerging infections present health professionals with the unique challenge of trying to select appropriate pharmacologic treatments in the clinic with little time available for drug testing and development. Typically, clinicians are left with general supportive care and often untested convalescent-phase plasma as available treatment options. Repurposing of approved pharmaceutical drugs for new indications presents an attractive alternative to clinicians, researchers, public health agencies, drug developers, and funding agencies. Given the development times and manufacturing requirements for new products, repurposing of existing drugs is likely the only solution for outbreaks due to emerging viruses. In the studies described here, a library of 290 compounds was screened for antiviral activity against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Selection of compounds for inclusion in the library was dependent on current or previous FDA approval or advanced clinical development. Some drugs that had a well-defined cellular pathway as target were included. In total, 27 compounds with activity against both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV were identified. The compounds belong to 13 different classes of pharmaceuticals, including inhibitors of estrogen receptors used for cancer treatment and inhibitors of dopamine receptor used as antipsychotics. The drugs identified in these screens provide new targets for in vivo studies as well as incorporation into ongoing clinical studies.
    • SARS-CoV attack (severe acute respiratory syndrome)

      Freeman, D.; Kenez, E. (Elsevier Inc., 2016)
    • Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus ORF7a inhibits bone marrow stromal antigen 2 virion tethering through a novel mechanism of glycosylation interference

      Taylor, J.K.; Coleman, C.M.; Postel, S.; Sisk, J.M.; Venkataraman, T.; Sundberg, E.J.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2015)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) emerged in November 2002 as a case of atypical pneumonia in China, and the causative agent of SARS was identified to be a novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Bone marrow stromal antigen 2 (BST-2; also known as CD317 or tetherin) was initially identified to be a pre-B-cell growth promoter, but it also inhibits the release of virions of the retrovirus human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) by tethering budding virions to the host cell membrane. Further work has shown that BST-2 restricts the release of many other viruses, including the human coronavirus 229E (hCoV-229E), and the genomes of many of these viruses encode BST-2 antagonists to overcome BST-2 restriction. Given the previous studies on BST-2, we aimed to determine if BST-2 has the ability to restrict SARS-CoV and if the SARS-CoV genome encodes any proteins that modulate BST-2's antiviral function. Through an in vitro screen, we identified four potential BST-2 modulators encoded by the SARS-CoV genome: the papain-like protease (PLPro), nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1), ORF6, and ORF7a. As the function of ORF7a in SARS-CoV replication was previously unknown, we focused our study on ORF7a. We found that BST-2 does restrict SARS-CoV, but the loss of ORF7a leads to a much greater restriction, confirming the role of ORF7a as an inhibitor of BST-2. We further characterized the mechanism of BST-2 inhibition by ORF7a and found that ORF7a localization changes when BST-2 is overexpressed and ORF7a binds directly to BST-2. Finally, we also show that SARSCoV ORF7a blocks the restriction activity of BST-2 by blocking the glycosylation of BST-2.
    • Transcriptomic analysis reveals a mechanism for a prefibrotic phenotype in STAT1 knockout mice during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection

      Zornetzer, G.A.; Frieman, M.B.; Rosenzweig, E. (American Society for Microbiology, 2010)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection can cause the development of severe end-stage lung disease characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pulmonary fibrosis. The mechanisms by which pulmonary lesions and fibrosis are generated during SARS-CoV infection are not known. Using high-throughput mRNA profiling, we examined the transcriptional response of wild-type (WT), type I interferon receptor knockout (IFNAR1-/-), and STAT1 knockout (STAT1-/-) mice infected with a recombinant mouse-adapted SARS-CoV (rMA15) to better understand the contribution of specific gene expression changes to disease progression. Despite a deletion of the type I interferon receptor, strong expression of interferon-stimulated genes was observed in the lungs of IFNAR1-/- mice, contributing to clearance of the virus. In contrast, STAT1-/- mice exhibited a defect in the expression of interferon-stimulated genes and were unable to clear the infection, resulting in a lethal outcome. STAT1 -/- mice exhibited dysregulation of T-cell and macrophage differentiation, leading to a TH2-biased immune response and the development of alternatively activated macrophages that mediate a profibrotic environment within the lung. We propose that a combination of impaired viral clearance and T-cell/macrophage dysregulation causes the formation of prefibrotic lesions in the lungs of rMA15-infected STAT1-/- mice.
    • Unique signatures Of long noncoding RNA expression in response to virus infection And altered innate immune signaling

      Peng, X.; Gralinski, L.; Frieman, M.B. (2010)
      Studies of the host response to virus infection typically focus on protein-coding genes. However, non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are transcribed in mammalian cells, and the roles of many of these ncRNAs remain enigmas. Using nextgeneration sequencing, we performed a whole-transcriptome analysis of the host response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection across four founder mouse strains of the Collaborative Cross. We observed differential expression of approximately 500 annotated, long ncRNAs and 1,000 nonannotated genomic regions during infection. Moreover, studies of a subset of these ncRNAs and genomic regions showed the following. (i) Most were similarly regulated in response to influenza virus infection. (ii) They had distinctive kinetic expression profiles in type I interferon receptor and STAT1 knockout mice during SARS-CoV infection, including unique signatures of ncRNA expression associated with lethal infection. (iii) Over 40% were similarly regulated in vitro in response to both influenza virus infection and interferon treatment. These findings represent the first discovery of the widespread differential expression of long ncRNAs in response to virus infection and suggest that ncRNAs are involved in regulating the host response, including innate immunity. At the same time, virus infection models provide a unique platform for studying the biology and regulation of ncRNAs. IMPORTANCE Most studies examining the host transcriptional response to infection focus only on protein-coding genes. However, there is growing evidence that thousands of non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are transcribed from mammalian genomes. While most attention to the involvement of ncRNAs in virus-host interactions has been on small ncRNAs such as microRNAs, it is becoming apparent that many long ncRNAs (>200 nucleotides [nt]) are also biologically important. These long ncRNAs have been found to have widespread functionality, including chromatin modification and transcriptional regulation and serving as the precursors of small RNAs. With the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies, whole-transcriptome analysis of the host response, including long ncRNAs, is now possible. Using this approach, we demonstrated that virus infection alters the expression of numerous long ncRNAs, suggesting that these RNAs may be a new class of regulatory molecules that play a role in determining the outcome of infection. Copyright 2010 Peng et al.
    • Yeast based small molecule screen for inhibitors of SARS-CoV

      Frieman, M.; Matthews, K.; Taylor, J.; Jones, G. (2011)
      Severe acute respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV) emerged in 2002, resulting in roughly 8000 cases worldwide and 10% mortality. The animal reservoirs for SARS-CoV precursors still exist and the likelihood of future outbreaks in the human population is high. The SARS-CoV papain-like protease (PLP) is an attractive target for pharmaceutical development because it is essential for virus replication and is conserved among human coronaviruses. A yeast-based assay was established for PLP activity that relies on the ability of PLP to induce a pronounced slow-growth phenotype when expressed in S. cerevisiae. Induction of the slow-growth phenotype was shown to take place over a 60-hour time course, providing the basis for conducting a screen for small molecules that restore growth by inhibiting the function of PLP. Five chemical suppressors of the slow-growth phenotype were identified from the 2000 member NIH Diversity Set library. One of these, NSC158362, potently inhibited SARS-CoV replication in cell culture without toxic effects on cells, and it specifically inhibited SARS-CoV replication but not influenza virus replication. The effect of NSC158362 on PLP protease, deubiquitinase and anti-interferon activities was investigated but the compound did not alter these activities. Another suppressor, NSC158011, demonstrated the ability to inhibit PLP protease activity in a cell-based assay. The identification of these inhibitors demonstrated a strong functional connection between the PLP-based yeast assay, the inhibitory compounds, and SARS-CoV biology. Furthermore the data with NSC158362 suggest a novel mechanism for inhibition of SARS-CoV replication that may involve an unknown activity of PLP, or alternatively a direct effect on a cellular target that modifies or bypasses PLP function in yeast and mammalian cells. Copyright 2011 Frieman et al.